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Relay for Life exceeds fundraising goal

By Staff | Jun 29, 2018

Toni Milbourne/Chronicle “Mr. Relay” contestants pose before heading out to collect funds at the Jefferson County Relay for Life at Jefferson High School on June 23. This year’s Relay for Life event raised $125,023. Relay teams can continue fundraising until Aug. 31.

Despite the threat of rain keeping many teams from participating in the Jefferson County Relay for Life on June 23, the 51 teams registered came together to raise $125,023. The event’s initial goal was $100,000, and teams can continue to raise funds until Aug. 31.

Top teams for this year’s event included The Board of Hope, which has raised $19,359 and is the top fundraiser. A close second is Hearts of Hope, which has raised $17,830. Bar’s Blessings came in third, with $13,578.

The annual Relay event was held at Jefferson High School’s football field, beginning at 6 p.m. June 23 with opening ceremonies. The event ran through the night, ending at 6 a.m. Sunday morning.

Specific laps were named throughout the night, beginning with the Survivor’s Lap early in the evening. Others included the Youth Lap, a Hula Hoop Lap, a Patriotic Lap and the Jefferson County Schools Lap, among others. The evening also featured the luminaria ceremony, where candles were lit for those who lost their battles to cancer and in honor of those still fighting the disease. The ceremony took place in the dark, except for the candles that were placed around the perimeter of the high school track.

Many teams were repeat attendees at the annual Relay. Every school in Jefferson County fields a team, as does the bus garage.

Toni Milbourne/Chronicle Annette Jamison, office clerk at Shepherdstown Elementary School, mans the booth for the J-Birds team.

Annette Jamison, office clerk at Shepherdstown Elementary School, manned the tent for her school Saturday evening. Known as the J-Birds, the elementary school’s team was named in honor of Sandy Jamison, who also worked at the school and passed away in 2008.

Jamison said the team has hosted several fundraisers leading up to the Relay event, including Relay Lunches and Jeans for the Cause at school.

“We also won the ‘Kiss a Pig’ county-wide contest,” Jamison said. “Dr. (Bondy Shay) Gibson came to our school to kiss the pig,” she said.

In that fundraiser, each class donated funds to be the individual class winner within the school, and all the money was totaled to determine a county-wide school winner.

Linda Myers-Hart, a member of the top-ranking Board of Hope team, said she and her team members sought donations from businesses and individuals to help reach their goal. They also partnered with Prince William County for a fundraising event over Labor Day weekend.

“This is by far the most we have ever raised,” Myers-Hart said. She raised $7,904 for the team and completed her 17th year with Relay this year, while her husband, Dan, finished his 19th year.

Brenda Dailey, a member of the Barb’s Blessings team, was the top individual fundraiser, bringing in $8,484. Dailey was the honorary chair of the 2017 Relay for Life. This year’s Honorary Chair was Michelle Hart.

Donations for the overall event or any team specifically can still be made to teams on the Relay for Life website at Relayfor Life.org/JeffersonWV.